Local Blogger Uses Florida Woman’s Indentity to Create Petition to Remove Wes Bellamy From City Council



A petition being widely circulated in the local media to remove Vice-Mayor Wes Belamy from Charlottesville City Council, and which features many comments from citizens, appears to be a fake [note: since the date of this posting the petition has been altered. See developing news below. The screen shot above is off the petition on the date and time of this posting]. The petition says it was created by a Michelle Jones, and includes a picture of Ms. Jones. That photo is from the bio page of a Florida-based company called Altair Training Solutions, and is of the company’s Executive Vice President Michelle Jones.

“I was not aware of it and did not start the petition,” Jones tells the DTM. “I know nothing about it. I’ve obviously been hacked.”

StandUnited, the petition platform, has been informed of the identity theft.

Jason Kessler, the blogger who exposed Bellamy’s tweets has been promoting the petition on social media.

Developing news:

1:02pm. Another stolen photo has replaced the one of Ms. Jones on the petition.

1:31pm: Now the author of the petition has been changed to none other than…Jason Kessler.

December 1, 2016Daily Progress on Jason Kessler’s sock puppetry concerning the petition to have Wes Bellamy removed from City Council…



David McNair View All →

writer. journalist. editor

3 Comments Leave a comment

  1. The Daily Progress reports:

    “Earlier in the week, the petition had been listed under Michelle Jones but was later changed.

    Over the phone Wednesday, Kessler said there had been some people questioning the validity of his petition and whether the growing number of signatures was legitimate. He said he was “shy” about putting his name out there, but later chose to attach his real name to the petition so that he could “promote it more publicly.”

    Angela Morabito, senior campaign organizer for StandUnited, said in an email that Kessler initially had decided to use a different identity on the website.

    “… I am verifying that Jason Kessler is a real site user and that his petition, and the signatures it has garnered, are legitimate,” she said.”


    First of all: Kessler, shy? Seems not the case.

    Secondly: is it OK to “use a different identity on the website”?

    Thirdly: a check of Twitter reveals that Ms. Morabito is in fact promoting this petition personally:


  2. In addition to Kessler’s blog and petition, a number of online strategies targeting Bellamy have emerged, some quite nasty:

    — a blog and a Facebook page titled “Arrest Wes Bellamy” have appeared:


    — someone representing himself on Twitter as a hacker named “Goadzilla” has repeatedly targeted Bellamy, to include a claim of illegally removing 11.2 gigs of data from Bellamy’s computer:

    — a Facebook group titled “Remove Wes Bellamy Council” included Kessler as an admin and Susan Hathaway, leader of the Virginia Flaggers as members. Other members, including Teresa Lam and John Heyden, are well known to the Charlottesville community for their vocal organized opposition to City Council’s initiative to re-evaluate the place of Confederate monuments in public spaces. These members have contributed a prominent block presence in the online comments of all news stories surrounding the controversy, effectively amplifying the appearance of public outrage. The group’s existence was uncovered by this blog:


    — Susan Hathaway’s group, The Virginia Flaggers, has fed the controversy by driving their Facebook and Twitter following to the various media stories and to Kessler’s petition. A review of the comments on the news stories and the petition itself reveals the driving interest in Confederate heritage.

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